Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge: Post 1

I joined Joy's Book Blog's New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge, where you read 1-4 books relating to your New Year's resolution.  I chose books that focused on on my word of the year, savor, in a variety of ways.  Though I won't finish them by the end of January, I think having them to read throughout the year will be a good reminder of what I am  working on in 2014.

My books are as follows:
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
    • This is actually a reread for me.  It is the read along book for the challenge and fits my focus pretty well.
  • Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
    • A great book that lasts all year focusing on appreciating the little things in life.
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
    • Savoring life will be much easier if I'm not stressed by my to do list pile at home and work.  This book has come highly recommended from a multitude of people, so I have high hopes.
  • Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thích Nhá̂t Hạnh and Lilian W Y Cheung
    • A Buddhist leader and a Harvard nutritionist offer cutting-edge science and deep Buddhist wisdom on the subject of eating with one's health and the welfare of the planet in mind.
As I mentioned above, the read along book is The Happiness Project.  The first set of questions were to be discussed today.

1. The first question is borrowed from The Happiness Project Reading Guide at HarperCollins. Gretchen argues throughout The Happiness Project that striving to be happy is a worthy, not selfish, goal. Do you agree? Do you think that Gretchen was right, or not, to devote so much time and attention to her own happiness? Do you spend much time thinking about your happiness?
I think it is definitely a worthy project, so long as you do not do it to the detriment of others.  I think at time she went a bit too far, but overall I think it was a good plan.  I don't spend nearly that much time thinking about my happiness mainly because I don't have that much free time or a book contract to do so.
2. Of the three topics covered in the first three chapters (Vitality, Marriage, and Work), which area would you like to improve the most in 2014? Why? Would some of the techniques that worked for Gretchen work for your situation?
I think I would like to focus on my marriage most.  Not because it has problems, but rather because we're still learning how to focus on each other while being parents.  I think she has some great tips in here and in her second book.
3. What idea from the first three chapters of The Happiness Project could use today that would likely make you happier?
"If you do new things — visit a museum for the first time, learn a new game, travel to a new place, meet new people — you’re more apt to feel happy than people who stick to more familiar activities."

I'm all about seeing and learning new things and definitely find that I am happier when pushing out of my normal routine.
4. What idea from the first three chapters of The Happiness Project are you pretty sure wouldn’t make you happier at all, even if it seems to work for Gretchen?
She definitely has much more time to research and think about her happiness.  I, unfortunately, can't just spend hours a day reading, thinking. and writing on my happiness.
5. What do you think of the structures that Gretchen uses to facilitate her Happiness Project? Would something like a Resolutions Chart help you? What about the concept of tackling a different theme each month?
I think a resolutions chart may help, but that would require a level of organization that I don't currently have.  I very much like the idea of a different theme each month, though within the overall framework of my year, which I guess is what she is doing though on a broader scale.  For instance, for January I am focusing on organization and increasing my productivity (hence book 3 above) so that I can more easily savor what is occurring without feeling rushed or stressed.  I'm still figuring out the rest of the year.


  1. She does do a lot of research doesn't she? It wasn't something I had picked up on until I read your post. :)

  2. I also envied the time she seemed to have to spend on research, and how she stayed so focused on one (large) subject during the time she is writing about. I spend a lot of time reading about random stuff, I realized, but it's so much more scattershot than the author's research that it doesn't feel like time spent doing one thing!
    I'm also re-reading this book, and bought my own copy for the read-along after reading it a couple of years ago (?) from the library. I like a lot of her ideas!

  3. Amanda, I enjoyed this post, and the fact you mentioned Gretchen's book...which I bought at least two years ago, and have never read it. Why? Basically because I'm a happy person, but for some reason I wanted to read it. Now, after I finish the one I'm on (reading a chapter a day), I will open "The Happiness Project" and think of you. Good luck with your 2014 Book Resolution.

  4. Oops. I thought I commented here on Wednesday. I've read three of your four books and the fourth one looks good, too! Great choices!

    I like your idea of choosing a theme for the month, but more on a monthly basis than a whole year in advance. That would make it easier to invent a structure that works to address what's going on in your life at that moment.


Your 8 Greats

I was at a Junior League meeting on Tuesday listening to a speaker on deciding how to donate your money, including through bequests in y...